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Our website is all about motorcycles, especially BMW cycles. We cover rides in the Southwest and Mexico, motorcycle modifications and review motorcycle products. 

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Ride Reviews

Filtering by Author: Ricardo Perez

Delmita Texas Ride

Ricardo Perez

Gas at $0.63 per Gallon!

Gas at $0.63 per Gallon!

Not far from the busy roads of the Rio Grande Valley lies Delmita, Texas. It actually has a Post Office though I am not sure what kind of hours it keeps. The Post Office is a small one room building right on the main road named Delmita Road. It's right off of Hwy 2294 which intersects with Hwy 1017 in San Isidro, the closest town to Delmita. Delmita seems like a place frozen in time, the highway has actually been blocked off on one of the entry points on Hwy 1017 and the road no longer seems to be maintained by TxDot.

The gas station is now fenced up with its weathered lumber in need of some TLC. The gas pumps mark gas prices at $0.63 per gallon. It's a nice breakfast ride as its peaceful and quite, away from city traffic and all those fracking trucks that are all over rural South Texas.


Zion National Park

Ricardo Perez

Zion National Park
Court of the Patriarchs
Views of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob Peaks
Zion National Park in Utah is one of the most beautiful parks in the USA, unfortunately, it's so popular that the best route, the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is unavailable except through use of the shuttle buses which run about seven minutes apart. Upon entering the park you can go anywhere else in the park, but if you want to take the shuttle then parking is available at the Visitor's Center. The shuttle service runs form March 24th to November 3rd. It's an 80 minute ride unless you get off at any of the nine stops. Each stop has its own attractions in form of hiking trails or views. You can get off the shuttle and hike, climb, camp, or backpack. The hiking trails are identified as "Easy", "Moderate" or "Strenuous" and they range in time from a half-hour to eight hours and from about a half mile to 22.5 miles in distance.
We were in a hurry so we selected to get off at the Lodge and tap into the draught beer available at the cafe and open air bar. We sat out on the great green grass with a great view of the cliffs in front. We figured that would be as strenuous as we would get on this trip with plans to return. We'd like to do the hike at the last stop, "Temple of Sinawava" which has the famous hike where the canyon walls get narrower and narrower as you go.
The City of Hurricane is about 20 miles off of I15 and about 23 miles from the entrance to the park has a Harley dealership that's handy for a quick rental if you happen to fly into Vegas. Springdale is the small community at the entrance of the park. It has restaurants and a few chain hotels like La Quinta Hotel (fairly new) and several non-chain hotels which look good. Of course, there's roads that are open and available for use, but they're not the best part of the park.
In Zion National Park
Being July the temperature was right at about 100 degrees as we entered the park, but it soon got cloudy and the temps dropped a few degrees. Later on in the afternoon a rain storm rolled in and the temps really dropped to somewhere in the 70s. That was a welcome break, but in this area which has the Virgin River running through the scenic route flash flooding is a real hazard. We were told stories of how the river has taken out parts of the road or blocked it with boulders actually marooning visitors within the park. We wanted nothing of that so we moved out of the park before it really started raining hard.
Zion keeps reminding us that people have lost their lives climbing so I guess there are all levels of climbing/hiking in the park and it doesn't seem like they prohibit much of anything. That's a good thing if you know what you're doing.
Zion is definitely a must ride if you can make the ride out West.

A Great View
Clouds Building Up

Outdoor Cafe at the Lodge
There's Beer!

Green Space at Lodge

Approaching Rain Storm

Beautiful Scenery at Every Bend in the Road 

Across the Creek & You're In Springdale, UT

Virgin River

Holland Hotel in Alpine

Ricardo Perez

Holland Hotel in Alpine, Texas
The Holland Hotel in Alpine like the Gage in Marathon and El Paisano in Marfa is another one of those classic hotels worth staying at while riding the Big Bend and Davis Mountains. They've got a nice bar facing the street where you can sit and enjoy a cool beer after a long day's ride. The restaurant runs along the backside of the bar and into an outdoor patio. On certain days they've got live music in the patio area and on those occasions a good size crowd gathers.
The rooms are classy and more period type than you might be used to, but it makes for a good stay. For your added comfort each room is provided with ear plugs since the railroad is just across the street and those trains seem to run about every hour.
Of course, you're right in the middle of town so you can take a stroll around and check out beautiful downtown Alpine without having to ride anywhere. Unlike Marathon, there's a few things to see and do in Alpine so it's worth considering next time you're making it down to Big Bend National Park.

Train Across Hotel Runs Through Alpine 

At the Holland Hotel Bar During Spring Thunder Storm

Holland Hotel

Fort Davis Headed North
Hotel Lobby Area

Just before early morning departure

John R. Holland Bio
"Common battery telephone service..."

Touring Marfa in West Texas

Ricardo Perez

Presidio County Seat - Marfa Texas
Marfa, like Alpine, Fort Davis, and Marathon is part of those few West Texas towns north of Big Bend National Park. Each has its own character and charm. Marfa is about 26 miles Southwest of Alpine so it makes it one of the more out-of-the-way towns in this out-of-the-way region. Marfa was really put on the map during the filming of the movie Giant with Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, and James Dean back in 1956. The crew camped out at the famous Paisano Hotel which is still there and probably just as it was back in the 50s.
In more recent years Marfa's back on the map as artists from New York City and places elsewhere and those that follow art have ended up in Marfa.  A New York artist, Donald Judd started buying buildings in Marfa for his bigger art works. Marfa has also been home for some popular movies such as "There Will Be Blood" and "No Country For Old Men". So compared to the surrounding cities, Marfa is a regular Hollywood and New York City combined. It's worth the time to spend a half day there checking out the art community and some of the historical sites like the Paisano Hotel and the Presidio County Seat Courthouse. Visitors are free to climb the courthouse's steps all the way to the dome which offers a panoramic view of this west Texas area. The view gives you an understanding of the emptiness that fills West Texas.
Of course, Marfa is also famous for the Marfa Lights. A few miles out of town sits the Marfa Lights center which is open to visitors. I've been to this area lots of times, but have never had the urge to check out the Marfa lights so I can't tell you if it's worth a sidebar trip.
Old Courthouse Seating Still in Vogue
The Prada storefront display is also a few miles out of town, but opposite the Marfa Lights side. Of course, the Prada display is kind of world famous and it's a hoot to see it out in the middle of nowhere. Not exactly like Venice, Paris or Rome.
While we were there we stopped at the covered area by the railroad tracks which hosts their weekend farmer's market, but on this day its sole vendor was the lunch RV called The Shark. They were running off three or four generators and pumping out fancy sandwiches and flavored ice tea. Not exactly what you'd expect in West Texas, but the crowd sure fit the food except for my brother and me. Anyhow, the food was good, but there's a nice simple Mexican food restaurant just a few blocks away that's more 'local' and reasonable on prices.
The Food Shark

If you have the time my suggestion would be to stay at the Gage Hotel in Marathon then the Holland Hotel in Alpine then El Paisano Hotel in Marfa and end the Big Bend Hotel tour at Hotel Limpia in Fort Davis. You could cap it off with stays at the Indian Lodge at the Davis Mountains State Park outside of Fort Davis and end up at the best site of all, a campsite at the Chisos Basin at Big Bend National Park!
Inside Courthouse Dome

El Paisano Hotel Courtyard

Davis Mountain State Park Indian Lodge

Ricardo Perez

The Indian Lodge
Within Davis Mountains State Park is the Indian Lodge, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933. It has over 30 rooms for overnight stays as well as a restaurant and swimming pool.  It offers an elevated porch area outside the community room which offers a great view. Swallows fly around as they nest throughout the porch ceiling

The park has a nice road called the Skyline Drive Trail that rises far above the rest of the park and offers a great view of the Davis Mountains as well as the city of Fort Davis just a few miles away.
Community Room Column & Beams
If you can't stay at the Indian Lodge the camping area is great. There is lots of space and shade trees which will make camping out a nice experience. My wife and I camped out there a couple of years ago and were awakened by a herd of javelins foraging through our campsite. Those jaws certainly clack loudly as they graze, not a comforting thought when the only thing between us is the flimsy nylon tent wall and only a pocket knife to possible defend yourself.
The park is not huge, but it's one of those that's not on everybody's list so it makes for a nice stay. Nearby is McDonald's Observatory, Fort Davis, Alpine and Marfa.

Black Bear Restaurant

Indian Lodge


Big Bend National Park Ride: March 2013

Ricardo Perez

Heading from Big Bend National Park Towards Alpine
Picture by Voni
Ricardo & New RT
The above picture was taken by Voni Glaves who happen to be out on the front of her house with camera as we rode by on our way to Alpine. Voni has over a million miles on BMW motorcycles. Tomas has met her before at BMW rallies and he spotted her and stopped for a short visit. Tomas had actually emailed her about the possibility of camping out at her place in case we were out of luck on a hotel for Saturday night, but the odds of catching her out by the highway as we rode by was really amazing. Check her riding history, truly impressive.
We started our ride at 5:30am and it immediately struck me what's great about riding as the smell of grass fields heavy with the mornings dew fill the senses, then the sweet, powerful smell of blossoming orange trees dominated as we rode between orchard fields. It's just the sense of being close to nature that reminds me how we just miss those senses when we're caged up in our vehicles. What a time to ride as spring comes early to South Texas.
The new BMW R1200RT is a week old and I've got 2,323 total miles. After the break-in procedure and the 600 mile service a group of six took a three day ride to Big Bend National Park. During the three days we logged approximately 1,481 miles. Tomas, Marco, Ed, Albert,Pancho, and myself met up about 5:30am in Edinburg and headed out at 6am or so. It was still dark and we wouldn't risk the back rural highways at night with too much wildlife venturing out on the highway.  We stuck to Highway 281 North and made our way to Falfurrias, about 90 miles from home to gas up and eat breakfast. We left Falfurrias about 8:30am and headed West on Highway 285 and then North on Hwy 339 to Benavides and Freer. Highway 339 is one of the few backroads that's not congested with all the trucking from the "Fracking Gone Wild" in Texas, so that's a pleasant ride through Benevides. We rode through Benavides and made a quick stop in Freer and a gas stop in Encinal then pushed on to Carrizo Springs where we stopped for lunch.
Cruising Down the Highway
We made Del Rio by about 3pm and fueled up at WalMart on the West end of town while Albert went in and bought a sleeping bag. In Sanderson we stopped for a break and met two brothers from Colorado riding the new BMW GTLs on their way to South Padre Island. We didn't mention that it's Spring Break and not the place to be.
Marathon Motel
We arrived at the Marathon Motel & RV Park right about 7pm. We had reservations for only one night  so the plan was to camp out Saturday night at the basin in Big Bend National Park, but we started re-thinking that idea when we heard that it would be about 34 degrees on Sunday morning. The basin campsites were also all taken due to Spring Break so we settled on a couple of rooms at the Hampton Hotel in Alpine for Saturday night. The Marathon Motel is a neat little place that we've stayed at on many of our trips to Big Bend. When they hand out complimentary ear plugs you start thinking, did I miss something in the small print?" The train runs by about ever hour, twenty four hours a day, at least that's what they say. They don't bother me, but that may not be the case for everyone. The motel has a handful of little cabins/rooms, an RV park and about four tent campsites. It also has a great open patio area with a huge fire place and it's the perfect spot for just relaxing. There's plenty of firewood and we're free to start a fire. We were joined by another motel guest, a band member from Austin out to take pictures of the Big Bend area for his band.
Before we started the fire we went out to the Gage Hotel White Buffalo Bar for a couple of beers and some dinner. Food at the Gage is very good and the prices are not too bad. After our fireside chats we ended our day; 525 miles on Friday.
Marathon Coffee Shop
Saturday we were up early and rode over about an eighth of a mile to the Marathon Coffee Shop which always has a good breakfast menu. You can sit inside the restaurant, but with pleasant weather it's great sitting outside which is what we did. After breakfast we gassed-up the bikes and rode west to Alpine where we dropped off our bags at the hotel before we headed to Marfa, Texas. Marfa is an interesting place with a large artist community. We toured the town on our bikes, passed the open market area and moved on to Presidio.
Presidio is not a very attractive town, but it's the gateway to Hwy 170 to Lajaitas, about a 60 mile road that hugs the narrow Rio Grande River. It's only a stone's throw from the US to Mexico and the river is a very shallow crossing in many places. There's no wall here as it's sparsely populated on both sides of the river. The highway is a great ride with lots of dips, some small and others big. It's a hilly ride, but most are small hills so it's a real up and down ride.
As we rode east we hugged the river to the right and crossed the Big Bend State Park to the left. We stopped at the State Park parking area to check out some trails and then rode to the next rest stop which is lined with Tee-Pees, not real ones, but ones made from cement.
We ended the route at Study Butte, fueled up and entered the western entrance to Big Bend National Park. Once in the park we rode to the Chisos Basin for a nice break. It's about 28 miles back to the western exit at Study Butte and another 82 miles to Alpine.
Reata Resturant was our dinner stop in Alpine. It's probably the nicest place in Alpine and they serve some great dishes.
Marathon Coffee Shop
Our stay was at the Hampton Inn on the western end of town. We woke early Sunday to 34 - 36 degree weather so we layered up and headed out by 8am. The ride home took us through Hwy 67 North which meets I10 about 15 miles west of Fort Stockton. Once we hit I10 we cruised at 85mph and battled a strong northern that was blowing in that day. We rode from Alpine to Ozuna, approximately 180 miles before stopping for some hot coffee. It was now 58 degrees, but it still felt cold. We went another 100 miles to Junction for BBQ at Coopers. Hwy 83 is just east of Junction so we decided to take Hwy 83 south and have the wind at our backs.
From Junction on Hwy 83 south we stopped for a break at Concan just off Hwy 83 on Hwy 127. From Concan we made stops in Hondo and Alice before making it home. About 625 miles that Sunday.
It was a quick three day ride, but we had a great time. Weather was cool and skies were clear all three days and except for the cold start on Sunday morning, it was just about perfect riding weather. Big Bend is always a great ride and next time we'll do Santa Elena Canyon before heading out of the park.

Pancho's BMW RS

Marco Having a Bad Hair Day!

Tomas & Albert by Rio Grande River along Hwy 170

Pancho, Marco, Ed & Albert in Concan

Pancho in Study Butte, Texas

Ed's solution for operating his phone! We're sure Apple is picking up on this one; the new iHandinGlove! We'll be selling these for $39.95 & if you order before July 4th we will toss in a left-handed glove for free. There is a small S&H fee of $19.95. Satisfaction guaranteed, if not completely satisfied simply return the glove(s) for a complete refund minus a small restocking fee of $21.95. Our shops and technical staff are ready to help you. Wait, that's not all, yes, for a small added fee we can design the same glove for left-handed users, but you must act now! Imagine yourself texting away while cruising down a narrow country road at 75mph while your friends just look on with envy! Don't be the last one in your riding group to be without the technical advantages of our designs. (Just in case anyone thinks we're serious, we're not...don't send us any money, we don't sell gloves cut-up with scissors, and never text while riding) 

Checking out the glove in Freer, TX
Going down the Hwy

Made it to Marathon Motel just before dark!

Albert at motel patio area

Yes, they have TVs (small), but no WiFi!

Rear view of Marathon Motel area.

Persidio stop at fruit drink cafe

Big Bend State Park

Rest Stop

Rio Grande River



Arriving at BBNP Chisos Basin

Chisos Basin at BBNP

Big Bend National Park - Chisos Basin

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Terlingua - Big Bend National Park: January Snow 2013

Ricardo Perez

Some people talk about riding out to Big Bend during the winter, but I don't think January is a good time. We've gone there as early as late February and it can be really nice weather. This unusual snowfall swept in from the New Mexico - El Paso area on Thursday, January 03, 2013. Photos were taken on the 4th and 5th by Jaime Roel Perez and Aissa Hejira Martinez-Perez.

Road less traveled!

Looks cold!

Rabbit Footprints

Lost Mines Trail at Big Bend National Park

Approaching Big Bend's Chisos Basin

Snow beginning to melt

Big Bend at Chisos Basin

Not too many travelers

Date in snow 01/04/2013

November Beach Run

Ricardo Perez

Marco's Man-Size Breakfast

Closed out the month with a day trip to South Padre Island this weekend. We stopped in Port Isabel, Texas at Manuel's for breakfast before crossing the causeway to the island. For the few that don't know about Manuel's, it's great Mexican food for a reasonable price. As you can tell from the picture above, they're famous for their good tasting, over-sized flour tortillas. You can also use them as motorcycle cover. 
View from Clayton's 
It was a great day for riding with weather starting out in the low 60's and climbing to about 80 by mid-day. On the Island we ended up at Clayton's where we sat back and enjoyed the Gulf's shoreline.

Manuel's Restaurant 

Rocksprings, Texas by Motorcycle

Ricardo Perez

It's Wet Out There!

Three of us, Tomas, Rob Brace, and myself,  rode to Rocksprings, Texas on Friday, October 26, 2012 for the Annual Texas Honda ST Rally. It was a beautiful morning, clear and approximately 76 degrees when we left on our 370 mile ride, but that didn't last as we rode into our first big cold front of the year. Within two hours we were riding in rain and dropping temperatures and by the time we made Encinal, on Hwy 35 north of Laredo, it was wet and temperature around 54 degrees. That lasted at least 150 miles before the rain let up. It stayed overcast as we rolled into Rocksprings at 6:30pm.
The rally had approximately 20 riders from all parts of Texas, one from Colorado and another from Kansas. The only restaurant open, The King Burger,  was right across our motel and served up some decent food. It closed at 8pm, but we were told that there would be room since most the town was attending the local high school football game. The stadium was just a couple of blocks away and you could clearly hear the announcer doing the play by play with a Texan drawl that made you think the game was in slow motion.
I rode my 1979 R100RT and it did great on the more than 800 mile ride. About the only thing I miss from my Ultra Classic is the ABS brakes. I'll be switching out the ATE brakes on the RT for the better Brembo brakes which came out on the '81 RT.

Click on this link for a short video on the ride as provided by one of our fellow ST members:  Texas Hwy 337

The Benediction Sisters Good Shepard Monastery

Ricardo Perez

The Benediction Sisters Good Shepard Monastery
View from Conference Center
Saturday was a great riding day. It was it the high 80s and just a very nice clear day to enjoy a leisurely ride into our great brush country. Irma and I headed northwest and kept going for about an hour and half before we made our way north just west of Rio Grande City. About nine miles north of highway 83, which runs along the Rio Grande River, on FM 3167 is the entrance into The Benediction Sisters Good Shepard Monastery. The entrance is on the west side of the highway, marked with a big white wooden cross. It's about a mile ride up a dirt road to the monastery. There in the middle of nothing but brush for miles in all directions are a set of monolithic looking buildings which make up the monastery. It's run by three Benediction Sisters who have created this wonderful place with just private donations. The retreat center with conference rooms, cafeteria, and lodging hosts retreats for up to about a 100 people. There's also a great little chapel and sitting areas throughout the grounds.

Of course, the great beauty of this place is the wonderful surroundings of nature. We stopped by to just wander the grounds, sit for a while and just to give thanks for a wonderful day and a great ride. If you're ever out in this area make it a plan to stop at this little oasis, you won't be disappointed.
Our Ride Among the Thicket 

Here's a little history as taken from one of their brochures, "Benedictines in Starr County In 1986 the pioneers of the Monastery of the Good Shepherd came from their motherhouse in Crookston, Minnesota to share life with the people of South Texas.  They brought with them the 1500 year tradition of Benedictine monasticism that traces its origin to the life and work of the great St. Benedict of Nursia who lived during the fifth and sixth centuries.

The Benedictine Sisters have been serving the Diocese of Brownsville primarily by their witness of community life and prayer and by offering hospitality to those who wish to step back from the hectic pace of life to encounter God.  The Sisters wear the traditional habit, meet five times daily to pray the Liturgy of the Hours and are faithful to the Magisterium."

Nature Conservancy

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International Ferry at Los Ebanos, Texas

Ricardo Perez

Los Frenos International Port of Entry

The only thing that came to mind as I stood looking at the new port of entry in Los Ebanos was the quote from Paul Newman in the movie, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid: Paul Newman is surveying the local bank which has been refortified and he asks, "What happen to the old bank? It was beautiful"
Guard: "people kept robbing it"
Newman: "Small price to pay for beauty"

That's exactly what I thought yesterday as my wife and I rode up to the modernized International Ferry at Los Ebanos, Texas. Talk about a clash of designs, like wearing prints with stripes; or cowboys and aliens; or having a solar powered vette; or sushi at a tailgate party!
The modern beefed up port of entry is about to open and it totally destroys the beauty of the old hand drawn international ferry, the last of its kind in the United States. It looks like it's built to handle lots of traffic, but in reality they only get about 120 to 150 vehicle crossing a day and that's on a good day according to one of the customs officers I talked with.
The new port of entry dwarfs the actual barge that is used to transport cars and pedestrians from Mexico to the the US and back. As a matter of fact, you can't even see the river from the port of entry, at least not from where I was standing. I guess it's not hard to make something good really bad.
Pedestrian Traffic Coming From Mexico
I got past the customs guards as I strolled down towards the river, but was stopped about 50 yards further down at the "Stop" sign and the "Everyone Must Pay Beyond this Point". Even from this point you could only see a piece of the river and the ferry itself was still out of sight beyond the river bank. In my opinion this new and modernized Port of Entry is like Jerryworld (the new Dallas Cowboy Stadium), just too much. Ah, the price of progress! Sad!

Here's the New Port of Entry to the Left of Temporary Entry to Ferry Crossing

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Mexico Touring: On the Safe Side

Ricardo Perez

Afternoon Stop at Fruit-stand

So you miss traveling in Mexico since it's not safe to travel down there? Well the next best thing is cruising around the rural areas of Rio Grande Valley and taking in some really local stuff like this fruit stand. In many ways it's just like being in Mexico, the cokes are the Mexican cokes made with real sugar and the fruits and vegetables are those you would find in any Mexican market. Take a step back in time and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of roadside stands.  If you really want buzz then go into a flea market and you can find anything from ponies to satellite dishes, but those are too crowded for me so I stick to the roadside fruit stands. 
While we were there some guy drove up and grabbed ten pounds of over-ripe bananas for three dollars and left just as quickly. I asked the lady working there, 'what's he doing with ten pounds of bananas' and she said that he runs a raspa (snow-cone stand) and needs them for his raspas. 
Well it was a short break, but definitely a step back into what it's like in Mexico. 

Tomas & Pancho

Making a Stop

Fresh Watermelons


Tire's Had a Better Day!

Catus Fruit

Ricardo & Pancho Outside Lane's in San Isidro 


Enchanted Rock State Park

Ricardo Perez

On Top of Enchanted Rock With View of Ranch Road 965 Headed North

I believe, Enchanted Rock State Park is the world's second largest pink granite rock and it's a great place for a day trip or for an overnight camping. The park is only 18 miles north of Fredericksburg on Ranch Road 965 (Latitude N:  30° 29' 45.45" Longitude W:  98° 49' 11.53"). Rumor has it that a lot of bikers miss the park entirely after having a few German Brews in Fredericksburg as some riders, not saying who, tend to stay on Hwy 16 and miss the park. Both Hwy 16 and Ranch Road 965 head North out of Fredericksburg and are only four blocks from each other so it's a common mistake. 
There's no mistaking the rock from a distance as it stands out in the Texas Hill Country. It's over 400 feet tall and at the top the elevation is over 1,800 feet. It takes about 45 minutes to hike up to the top, but it can be done much faster depending what shape you're in. From the base of the rock it doesn't look that big until you see hikers at the top looking more like ants. 
Enchanted Rock became a State Park in the 1980's so not too many people realize what a great site it is. Of course, on weekends when traffic is heavy, especially with riders, the Park Rangers will close-off access to the park so if you're riding up there on a beautiful spring day then you should plan to get there by 10am or better.

Tomas and the healing powers of Enchanted Rock
By legend, Indians believed that the rock possesses special spiritual powers as the rock "speaks" which is a natural sound of the rock expanding with the day's heat and contracting with the night's cool air. We tended to believe the Indian legend and laid at the top center point of the rock, it's marked by a US Geological Survey marker. 
Paladin Back Rest- Various Motorcycle Models - NC-P9800A (Google Affiliate Ad)I'd recommend it to anybody riding out in that area just take some good hiking boots or comfortable riding boots. Camping is good, but it can get a little crowded depending on what time of year you plan your camping outing. We've camped there before and we've stayed in Fredericksburg which makes for a good home base for a weekend of riding. Try the Old San Antonio Road also known as "Old No. 9" for a great ride, it's off of Hwy 290 as you head East out of town. It's the old highway between Fredericksburg and San Antonio which will intersect with Hwy 473 which heads into Sisterdale. Sisterdale Road heads South to Bourne. 

That's Tomas about to get lost for a couple of hours!

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Images of Guanajuato Mexico

Ricardo Perez

Guanajuato, Mexico is one of the great cities in Mexico and makes for a great ride. 

Basilica of Our Lady of Guanajuato 1671

Altar in Basilica

College Traveler


Native Flowers

Flowers For Sale

Open Cafes With Endless Options

Narrow Streets

Street Traffic

One of many tunnel roads under the City


Irma and Ed at Sidewalk Cafe

Plaza Area

Lou Explaining that last U-Turn

They really just wanted to see the bikes!

Heading South to Morelia 

Headed into Tunnel Traffic

Sure, I know the way! Follow me!

First Long Ride: BMW R100RT

Ricardo Perez

Thirty One Years of RT Innovations:  1979 & 2010 

On Thursday morning I prepped my 1979 RT by draining the gas tank and installing two new gas petcocks as well as a new rubber sealer for the gas cap. I refilled the tank with the same gas and added some techron fuel additive to offset the ethanol now used in most fuels.  We'll be riding Friday morning to Kerrville and then on to San Antonio and back.
On Friday we took off on the first extended ride for my 1979 R100RT as I logged approximately 730 miles on Friday and Saturday. The bike ran flawlessly the entire way. We stopped in Dilley, Texas at Hank's Motoshop so I could get my carbs synced, as well as replacing the seal where the shifter goes into the transmission. While there I also switched out my transmission and rear-end lube to Redline 75-140. The carbs didn't exactly sync so I'm going to check and replace the needle valves, floats, and diaphragms.
Roadside Park Near Three Rivers
We logged approximately 350 miles as we rode to Kerrville, Texas on Friday and the balance on Saturday as I ran to San Antonio and then back out to Boerne to the Alamo Power Sports BMW Dealership and back home to Mission.
At this stage, I am very pleased with the bike. I hit a top speed of 86 mph (as per Garmin GPS). The bike gets a little wavy in the rear end as you pass those big rigs which create all that wind turbulence, but other than that, it's very steady at highway speeds.
The small seat I have is a must go; not very comfortable for a long day's ride so I'll be checking out a Corbin touring seat replacement.
On Sunday I pulled the oil pan and replaced the oil pan gasket as well as change out the oil filter and new oil filter gaskets (including O-ring) and a new oil pan plug with new crush washer. The pan had no thick oils stuck to the bottom of the pan and everything looked clean.
So my short list of things I'd do after my first extended ride:
Replace seat with a touring type seat;
Replace Windscreen with a shorter Recurve Type;
Replace Rear Shocks;
Modify Kickstand with extension so it's easy to reach;
Clean front rotor so brake doesn't slip and grab unexpectedly;
Fix Odometer.

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Motorcycle Trip To Alpine, Texas & Big Bend National Park

Ricardo Perez

Big Bend National Park - Chisos Basin

The three days before Mother's Day four of us took a quick ride out to Big Bend National Park. Marco, Hiram, Tomas and myself left on Thursday morning about 5:45am under overcast skies with 80% chance of rain in the forecast. As we often do, we took the back roads way West with only us and a few thousand tractor trailers from the fracking fields cluttering up what were once lonely roads with great scenery. Now most of the highways are in terrible disrepair from the heavy tractor trailers going to and fro the fracking wells.
Dilley's under the center pin!
May 10, 2012 at 11:45am
Hank From Motohank Dilley, Texas
We headed northwest first toward (Motohank's) so that Marco could get a new set of tires on his BMW RT. Hank owns the shop and he's a certified BMW motorcycle mechanic in Dilley, Texas. You'd think that he wouldn't have any business out in the middle of nowhere, but he's got a healthy clientle from both the Rio Grande Valley and San Antonio. Dilley is approximately 85 miles North of Laredo on I35 and 75 miles from San Antonio. It's approximately 230 miles from Mission, TX.
About an hour before we hit Dilley it started to rain and soon thereafter we rode into a heavy shower. It rained most of the way into Dilley, but as we approached Dilley there was a cloud off to our West side that was so dark that it looked dark green instead of just black. As both cloud and riders raced toward Dilley it became obvious that the cloud won by a mere five miles or so. It really started raining hard, but it was no time to pull over as we knew we were close to Hank's shop. Again my waterproof BMW Motorad All Around gloves with the rubber visor wiper on the forefinger were a life saver. I was on my 2008 Harley Ultra Classic while Tomas and Marco were on their 2010 BMW RTs and Hiram on his BMW GS. My bike started to miss badly as water was sucked into the air intake, but I was able to make into Hank's covered garage area. It wasn't five minutes after we reached Hank's that quarter size hail started to fall. The whole scene was bleak, dark, wet and windy. We were just grateful we had made it safely and knew that we weren't about to rush off as Hank began the tire replacement on Marco's RT.

Sanderson After Thunderstorm
We moved on from Dilley about 1pm headed Northwest toward Uvalde and then West on Hwy 90 to Brackettville. Brackettville is home to the movie set "The Alamo" filmed in 1960 starring John Wayne as Davy Crockett. From there we continued West to Del Rio where we stopped at Rudy's BBQ for a late lunch. By the time we left Rudy's it was starting to rain again. We flew by Langtry and rode into Sanderson for fuel before moving on to Alpine. The rain finally started to clear up in Sanderson and dark skies began giving way to some sunlight.We rolled into Alpine about 8:20 in the evening still with our rain gear on, but it had stopped raining most of the way between Sanderson and Alpine. We met up with a rider on a BMW GS from Houston named Andy. He rode into Alpine about three hours ahead of us and asked if we ran into the hail before Sanderson. We hadn't, but Andy said that it covered the highway for about 300 yards or so approximately ten miles before entering Sanderson. Thinking he was just seeing a water reflection on the highway he rode into a layer of hail between an inch or two thick. Andy said he'd figure he was going to lose the bike, but managed to keep it upright and slow down in order to slowly pass through it.
Alpine Best Western
Friday morning Andy was headed out to Terlingua to camp out a couple of nights, but we mentioned that camping at the Chisos Basin within Big Bend National Park was a lot better than Terlingua.
 We spent the morning in Alpine before riding about 82 miles South on Highway 87 down to Study Butte and Terlingua. Study Butte and Terlingua are at an elevation of 2,582 feet so its sometimes really hot especially around July. Compared to Alpine at 4,500 feet and the Chisos Basin in Big Bend at 5,400 to 5,700 feet which are much cooler Terlingua is usually very warm. It's an interesting area with its share of interesting people much like Marfa with its art community.
Study Butte
After a short rest we entered Big Bend National Park from the West entry which lies just a couple of miles outside of Study Butte. Unlike the North entrance, the Western entrance is more stark and moonlike looking with weird rock formations that don't look like they can support much life, especially not livestock.  A few miles further into the park is the lone entry booth and this time it was actually open with a female Ranger charging an entry fee. That's kind of rare, seeing anyone in that booth since its about 26 miles from Panther Junction where the Park Headquarters is located. I flashed out my senior pass and driver's license and went right in. We headed to the Chisos Basin 30 miles away at the posted speed limit of 45mph.
We rode around the basin campsites and picked out one with a nice flat area which would hold our three tents. It was within about 25 yards from the host park ranger (a volunteer position). We quickly made friends as we introduced ourselves. As it turns out, the Ranger, Rick Trimble a retired school teacher from Plano High School District. He was orginally from our neck of the woods, La Feria in the Rio Grande Valley; small world. We also met up with Andy, our friend from back at the Best Western in Alpine. Andy joined us for dinner at the Basin Cafeteria where we each had a few Shiner Bocks and we took two bottles of wine back to the campsite. Andy and Rick joined us as we enjoyed our wine, the sunset and just general chat about riding and camping out. It was one of those times where you say, "it doesn't get better than this!". As Andy and Rick retired for the evening we just stood out by the tents looking at the millions of stars that we just can't see from the city.
We were up at daybreak and breaking down camp as we readied ourselves to leave after one quick night at the park.
We rode out about 8am and headed north exiting the North entrance and making our way to Marathon about 80 miles from the basin. We had breakfast at the Coffee Shop on the West side of the Gage Hotel (I have a blog piece on the Gage Hotel). Coffee and breakfast was great as we sat outdoors next to a group of birders trying to imitate the Great Horned Owl. I tried to help out with the Three Amigos bird call, "". They didn't get it.
Entry From Western Side
We had to make up some time in order to get back for Mother's Day so we rode hard without any lengthy stop until we made it to Hebbronville where we stopped at the local Dairy Queen. We rode up on Thursday logging in approximately 678 miles, only about 120 miles on Friday and another 650 or so on Saturday. It was too short a time, but a great ride. Can't wait to do it again!

Our Campsite at the Basin
Casa Grande at base our our camp area

Marco and Hiram 

Big Bend National View

View at Cafeteria 

There's a View at Every Angle

Marco & Hiram

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Motorcycle Ride: Gruene, Wimberley, Blanco, & Elsewhere

Ricardo Perez

Catholic Church in Panna Maria, TX
We took four days in mid-April to ride up to Gruene, Texas. The weather was perfect, unusually cool for Texas in mid-April so riding was great. On Thursday, at 7:15am we left our house and met up with Albert and Lisa as we headed to Edinburg to meet up with three other couples, Sid & Letty, Joe & Sonia, and Leo & Terry. By the time we all gathered together North of Edinburg we were ready to head out about 8:15am or so, five couples and all riding Harley Davidson motorcycles. We stopped for breakfast in Falfurrias at a new Mexican food restaurant by one of the new overpasses under construction. The food was good and we decided that the weather being so nice we should just take our time riding and enjoy the ride so by George West we stopped to fuel up before heading around San Antonio on Hwy 72 via Karnes City.

We pulled over in Panna Maria to check out the church there. Panna Maria (Virgin Mary) is the oldest permanent Polish colony in the United States. Approximately 100 Polish families reached this site on Christmas eve in 1854 to settle the area. Other than the church there isn't much activity around, but the church and grounds are special and worth a stop. 
We made our way through Seguin and then New Braunfels before arriving at our destination in Gruene. Don't bother trying to input "Gruene" into your GPS like I tried on my Garmin Zumo 550 without any luck. Gruene is officially a part of New Baranfels so all addresses are in that city's name. I was able to input my address without any problem at all.
The Yellow Haus 
We stayed about two blocks from the old Dance Hall in Gruene at a place called, "The Yellow Haus" which was a little pricey, but not too bad when split among four of us. It was so close to everything in Gruene. It had four bedrooms (three of which were roomy), a nice back porch area and a very long front porch. We took advantage of both porches to relax and enjoy some good spirits & morning coffee. There's a separate unit attached to the back part of the house that is also available, for more money, of course. There's a car port dedicated for that back unit, but it was unoccupied the first two days we were there so we used it to park our bikes.
We arrived in Gruene about 2pm giving us plenty of time to ride over to the Dance Hall, even though it's an easy walk.  We took time to have a couple of beers. It was nice at the hall, not too crowded on a Thursday afternoon and it's usually very busy since made famous by the movie with John Travolta in Michael. We walked around a bit after that and ended having an early dinner across the street from the dance hall. Once back at the house we made a quick run for some food and beverages and spent the remainder of the evening just relaxing and planning the next day's ride.
On Friday we spent the morning at the Javelina Harley Davidson dealer  checking out the bikes. While I was there I went ahead and replaced my key-fob battery which is something I like to do every two years so I won't end up in the middle of nowhere with a dead key-fob. That set me back a couple of dollars. We hadn't ventured out very far because the weather forecast called for severe thunder storms by mid-day. Weather Bug was right, right about noon the thunder clouds moved in and it started pouring. We watched it all from our front porch. By three o'clock it was clearing up and the sun shone through in spots so we headed out on Purgatory Road headed to Wimberley.
Wimberley, Texas
Wimberley is a smaller Fredericksburg which to me means nicer. It's less than an hours ride and it's northwest of Gruene or northeast of Canyon Lake. The ride is very nice as it skirts along Canyon Lake and goes through some nice remote hill country without a lot of traffic. We landed at a good coffee shop and spent the afternoon checking out the local stores and the creek that runs through Wimberley. The main river that runs through that area is the Blanco River.
Back in Gruene that evening we went over to the River Grill, but this time we walked over so we didn't have to limit our beverage intake. The place is much like Gristmill and I was told that there's at least three restaurants with the same owner. Considering that these places are just churning tourists in and out the food wasn't bad and the lady behind the bar didn't limit the amount of liquor to just a shot!
Ole Blanco Courthouse
Becker Vineyards
Saturday morning we started out early and rode towards Johnston City. We stopped in Blanco for their open market day around the old court house and checked out all the vendors and their booths before moving on to Johnston City for lunch. After some good BBQ we ended up at Becker's Vineyard and their lavender fields. Becker's is a nice stop, but it's a little uppity as we all stroll around with our wine tasting tester glass in hand. The opposite ambiance of Becker's is Luckenbach where there's lots of hats, but they're all cowboy hats and lots of bikers. We had funnel cake and beer as we relaxed and enjoyed the live music.
We left Luckenbach with some of us going to Bouerne and others back to Gruene. It was a good leisurely day of riding that ended with a nice dinner in Gruene. Back at the dance hall, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band was playing, but we opted not to drop in at $57 a head.
Sunday morning we headed back to the valley only detouring of I37 near Campbellton as we rode the old highway 281 which is seldom used by anyone since I37 re-routed traffic around Campbellton and Whitsett. It's worth the extra 10 minute detour to travel on the only major highway connect the valley and San Antonio back in the day.
We had a quick four day trip with limited riding and only 800 miles on the clock, but we enjoyed ourselves and just as in the hill country this area northwest of San Antonio has lots to offer with some great back roads. 
Dinner Time in Gruene

Dance Hall in Gruene

Leo, Terry, Irma, Ricardo
Sid & Letty

Irma & Ricardo in Lavender Field at Becker's

Joe & Sonia

Irma & Albert as Hosts rejecting customers at restaurant 

Bikes at Becker's Vineyard

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Marathon, Big Bend National Park, Terlingua & Presidio via Motorcycle

Ricardo Perez

Marathon RV & Motel

Just as you head out of Marathon, Texas is the Marathon RV and Motel and that makes for a perfect stopping place for riding into and around Big Bend National Park. Marathon is situated above the Big Bend National Park's North entrance. It's still about 45 miles due South before you get to the park entrance which is just an entry booth that's more often than not never staffed and it's about halfway to the Park Headquarters so just keep riding South. Total miles from Marathon to the Headquarters is about 80. The first half goes at a fast clip, but once you enter the park things slow down as radar enforced speed limits max out at 45MPH; about an hour's ride to the headquarters from the park's entrance.
Sonny at The Window
The park's headquarters is fully staffed and a good place to stop for a break, pay your park entry fee, and load up on free maps of the park. Most riders I know that ride into Big Bend have never taken the time to hike any of the great trails in the park. My recommendation would be to go early in the morning before 10am and locate a camping spot at the Chisos Basin camp grounds and stay at least two nights. The basin also has hotel type rooms about a half mile from the camp grounds, but those have to be booked long before your trip. Once you're settled into a camping spot you can take time to do a little hiking. The Window is probably the shortest and best hikes you can take. It's about a two mile hike and it's easy walking, but the way back is more difficult since you're walk uphill.
Another good hike, but more of a medium duty walk, is The Lost Mines Trail which is about 4.8 miles and it starts at about an elevation of 5,800 feet. This hike offers some of the best views of the park and worth doing if you're staying at the park for more that one night.
Sotol Vista Overlook
My third hike would be the one at Santa Elena Canyon. It's at the southern most part of the park, about 40 miles from the Chisos Basin camp grounds, but it's a nice ride unless its July then it can get really hot as you descend from the basis. Temperatures changes can be dramatic. Halfway down to the canyon is the Sotol Vista Overlook, its a short loop off the main road, but a must stop.
Sotol Vista Overlook
The overlook offers a majestic view of the southern park of the national park. Off in the distance you can see Santa Elena Canyon.
Road to Sotol Vista Overlook
Right before arriving at the canyon is Castolon Station, a must stop for water, snacks and just rest. It may be closed during the summer months so it's a good idea to carry water on your bike just in case. About six miles from Castolon sits Santa Elena Canyon. There's a parking area, restrooms some picnic tables and a short hike away is the Terlingua Creek that many people confuse for the Rio Grande River. Unless there's been a rain storm its easy to wade across the ankle deep waters of the creek to get to the mouth of the canyon and it's hiking trail.

The trail is part of the park's trails so its easy to climb, but it is a vertical climb of about a 100 feet as you get a great view of the Rio Grande River, the creek, and the park to the north. I've been there half a dozen times or more, but have been turned by high waters cutting through the road those last eight miles between Castolon and the Canyon.

Castolon Station
Water crossing south of Castolon

Santa Elena Canyon
Study Butte Gas Stop
As you backtrack out of the canyon road its best to exit on the western side of the park. It's about 40 miles from the basin to Study Butte and Terlingua. Both of these towns are very hot in the summertime so a mandatory lunch stop is not a bad idea. It's 82 miles to Alpine if you're headed north. You're now out of the park and can head 17 miles southwest to Lajitas. That's the town that was bought by some millionaire who turned it into a very spiffy upscale rural village. I've only stopped there once and that was enough. Its best to keep moving toward Persidio a 50 mile ride that hugs the Rio Grande River most of the way. Its a great twisty road known as the River Road that is worth riding in both directions since they both offer a unique riding experience. Persidio is just as hot as Terlingua, but much bigger. It's got lunch places, gas, and a large grocery store.
Marfa lies north of Persidio. Marfa has become somewhat of an artist colony so it offers a nice mix of West Texas town and New York City in a twisted sort of way. If you like art then spending the afternoon in Marfa is well worth the stop. 
From Marfa its not a bad idea to east into Alpine and/or Marathon as a wrap up to a good day's riding. Another good ride is to head out to Fort Davis which has a great State Park with camping and a lodge and further northwest is the famous McDonald's Observatory. I'll cover those in another post. 

Somewhere between Big Bend National Park Headquarters & the North Entry

Tomas on his ST at Big Bend's Western Entry by Study Butte

Terlingua Hill View

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Sturgis Motorcycle Trip

Ricardo Perez

Harley Dealership in Sturgis

My Toy Hauler & F350
Back in 2008 I owned a Toy Hauler fifth wheel trailer and used it to trailer my bike and a friend's bike up to South Dakota. We started in Mission, Texas and went up through the panhandle and into Colorado then Nebraska and South Dakota. My Toy Hauler was a 37' Keystone Raptor which I pulled with a Ford F350 diesel. Pulling that much weight was never a problem, stopping on a dime was another story. There was so much "mass" behind you that it could easily push you if you weren't careful. I never really had trouble handling it, but you had to pay attention to under-passes since it required about a 13' 6" clearance. Turning tight corners was another thing you had to watch out for. I once ran over a curb in Eagle Pass while pulling over to decide where to eat (letting my stomach do the thinking instead of my head) and the tire popped like a ballon. Fortunately, we were only about a half mile from a truck stop where they called a guy to remove and replace the tire. That incident starting me thinking about replacing the Toy Hauler with something I can maintain myself. It was obvious that changing a tire is no simple task when trying to jack-up a 15,000lb unit. Turning a fifth wheel is much easier than turning a tow-behind unit and you can surprise yourself with a little practice how tight a turn-around you can maneuver on a fifth wheel. Regardless, the Toy Hauler is a beast  and you can't get too confident pulling that unit down the highway.
We left Mission, Texas early in the morning joined by another couple from Pharr, Texas and quickly made our way past San Antonio and on to I10 West. We then turned Northwest and headed to Fredericksburg then San Angelo. We kept going until we were north of Lubbock and stopped for the night at an RV Park. It was past 10pm by then and we had been on the road over 14 hours. We moved out early and headed through the Oklahoma panhandle and into Colorado. We ended our second day in the late afternoon at the Sterling State Park. The park was fairly deserted and we had most of the park to ourselves.
Sterling State Park - Colorado
Rainbow's End
Once out of Eastern Colorado the countryside started to get more interesting, everything was green, much different than the type of landscape we have in South Texas. We went into Rapid City then ran uphill into Nemo, a small village in the hills about 20 miles from Sturgis.  We stayed at Big Moma's place which is a horse ranch most of the year except during Sturgis' Bike Rally when she converts the place into an RV and Camping ground. We arrived the week before the rally in order to ride across Wyoming and camp out at Yellowstone National Park. The camp ground was really great. We had pick of any spot since we were there early so we backed up our RV close to the stream running behind us and about a hundred yards from the highway. We had a couple of friends join us, one from Minnesota and the other from Wisconsin. They joined us in Nemo and camped out a few hundred yards from where we parked the RV. We unloaded the bikes and made ourselves at home for a couple of days before heading out to Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park.
Creek by our Toy Hauler
Once we got back from our ride to Yellowstone we made time to join up with some other friends for some nice riding. Our first day we rode to Mt. Rushmore and rode through the Needles and through Custer State Park. We also made it to the Crazy Horse monument. We made time to stop by some good lunch spots and had a good time.
The next couple of days we would ride in to Sturgis to check out all the sites including all the different bike vendors although we didn't spend any money on all the available add-ons. Back in Nemo we spent the evening planning our BBQ menu and having a few refreshing brews as we sat around and enjoyed the nearby creek, the high cliff beyond the creek and passing motorcycles. Big Moma's had a bar setup at one end of the pasture which made it nice once we ran out of beer and their live music meant we didn't have to worry about finding our own.

We ventured into Deadwood one morning to check it out and ended up at a restaurant that was also a bar and casino. The slot machines were already going as we sat down for breakfast, but we didn't waste our money on any gambling. Deadwood was founded in 1876 after gold was discovered in the Black Hills in 1874. The town was famous for its outlaws and gamblers. Wild Bill Hickok was shot in a saloon with the famous "Dead Man's Hand" of aces and eights. Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane are both buried in Deadwood.  We walked around Deadwood for a while before heading out to the Interstate.
Sturgis, South Dakota is home to the largest or second largest motorcycle rally in the world. It's always held the first full week in August. We had been out to Yellowstone National Park during our first week and spent the second week in our Raptor in Nemo. Nemo is relatively higher elevation than Sturgis so its cooler and certainly lots less crowded. It's about 20 miles from Sturgis so it was a quick 20 minute ride into the rally. Our first trip into Sturgis was one of those where you just follow the other bikers hoping someone knows where they're headed. As it happened, we ended up parked by the local Harley dealership and in the middle of everything. What's best about Sturgis is that there are so many vendors that you get to at least see products closeup, where you can grab them and check them out. That's a treat compared to the blind purchasing done on the internet.
Of course, there's lots of demos as well and bars with live music. They must bring in police from throughout the state because they are everywhere and there's no drinking on public sidewalks, streets, or public places so those that happen to walk out of a bar with a beer got zapped fairly quickly. That was rare since most places had someone at the door to remind patrons that you couldn't take that beer with you. As for food, we mostly stuck to the vendors selling whatever verses eating inside a restaurant. Restaurant food was okay, but nothing to write home about.
In all, I think we went into Sturgis only twice since once you've seen it, it doesn't much change. We had a much nicer time back in Nemo with our friends, our BBQ, beer, and music. It was so relaxing that we didn't miss all the buzz down at Sturgis.
All in all, the rally and just the fact that we were in a state where everything was green and cool compared to the 100 degree weather in South Texas made this a special trip. We got to see our friends who joined us at Big Moma's and met their friends from different states. That made 10 of us riding around and enjoying each other's company and the great countryside as well as the rally in Sturgis. Every rider should make that trip a least once in their lifetime.

Sitting by Toy Hauler: Checking email and enjoying a couple of beers!

Jaime, Ricardo, & Mike pointing up to the cliff beyond the pasture.

Friendly Man in Deadwood
View of Mount Rushmore as we exit a tunnel
Deadwood Store
Stream Running Through Big Mama's Pasture

Passing Through Roswell New Mexico

At Santa Fe Plaza - Birthday Girl

We're checking out some on the spot pin striping work.

Irma's Taking a Break at Sturgis

She better watch those hot pipes!

George wasn't saying much!

In the Needles as we approach a 360 turn!

Where to Now?

The Needles

One of many one lane tunnels

Here's the Gang at Crazy Horse Monument 

Crazy Horse

Low Clouds Approaching

Entering Hill City

He wanted to tattoo Irma

Take a Tequila Shot or get bounced!

Sturgis Bar

Where's My Bike?

Hey, another Chicano!

She was on Letterman that week!




Fishnets still in style?

Local Bar

After many miles we get back to Texas!
Ricardo and Irma in Sturgis

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